Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things.
If you're a regular reader of Gizmag, then you've probably noticed that we're avid fans of Lego
and the many amazing contraptions
often created with them. But as much fun as these little plastic bricks can be, high price tags make it difficult for many people to build the more elaborate Lego models they really want. With Pleygo, people can pay a much cheaper monthly fee to rent numerous Lego sets one at a time, much as Netflix rents out movies.
When it comes to camping in comfort, sleeping in a hammock usually beats the cold ground, but you tend to lose the protection from the elements that a full tent normally provides. We've seen some suspended tents that address this problem before, like the Exped Ergo Combi
and the Stingray
, but a new product from Sierra Madre Research may have them beat in terms of all-around usefulness. The Nube attaches to any camping hammock to form a completely enclosed shelter that keeps you and your gear off the ground.
In the Western world, we tend to take for granted some pretty basic amenities, like reliable electricity. For people living in those corners of the globe where electricity can be scarce, WeWi Telecommunications, Inc. has developed the SOL, a rugged laptop that doesn't rely on a power socket to stay charged. The Ubuntu Linux-powered computer is instead equipped with a detachable solar panel, which the developers claim will provide up to 10 hours of battery life after just two hours in the sun.
The smartwatch market is barely in its infancy, but it's already feeling a bit crowded. With crowdfunding success stories like the Pebble
and the Agent
rubbing shoulders with juggernauts like Apple
, and Microsoft
, a new smartwatch has to bring something truly innovative to the table in order to stand out. PH Technical Labs seems prepared to do just that with the HOT Watch, which has a directional speaker and microphone embedded in the wrist, allowing the wearer to answer phone calls just by cupping their hand to their ear.
Photography group 360Cities seems determined to capture every major city in the world in as much detail as possible. Shortly after putting together a 360-degree panorama of London
and breaking the record for world's largest photo in the process, the group's founder Jeffrey Martin set his sights on Tokyo for his next project. This latest panorama may not trump his old record, but at 180 gigapixels, it's still the second largest photo ever taken.
Nature has been the source of inspiration for a variety of different forms of robotic locomotion. Yet another example is the STAR, a 3D-printed robot modeled after an insect's ability to squeeze into even the tiniest spaces. Developed by students at UC Berkeley's Biomimetic Millisystems Lab the STAR, which stands for Sprawl Tuned Autonomous Robot, is able to flatten its legs down to slip under a small gap and then raise them up again to climb over larger obstacles.
Flies are usually considered unwelcome guests in the kitchen, but one industrial designer is aiming to turn them into a renewable food source. Katharina Unger's Farm 432 concept is a fly-breeding device for home use that continually collects fly larva as a protein source for less squeamish diners. As unappetizing as it may sound, the designer hopes that convincing the Western world to add insects to its diet could help increase the planet's overall food supply.
Ever since the first developer kits for the Oculus Rift began shipping, a number of creative types have been combining the VR goggles with other devices to form entirely new experiences
. While most of these have done a good job of immersing users in virtual environments, the latest project from Intuitive Aerial could provide a unique perspective on the real world. The project, called Oculus Rift FPV, allows a pilot to control a UAV while wearing the VR headset, giving them a 360-degree, bird's-eye view without ever leaving the ground.
Hobbico has produced a wide range of remote-controlled vehicles
over its long history, but its latest offering still managed to pique our interest. Earlier this month, when the company released the Duratrax 835E, a remote-controlled buggy that's built to handle a lot of punishment without losing its speed, we knew we had to try it out for ourselves. During the course of our review, we put it through almost any scenario we could think of and spent several hours trying our best to break it under typical circumstances. Here are the results.
With systems like the Kinect
and Leap Motion
, controlling a gadget with just the wave of a hand is starting to become much more commonplace. The one drawback to those gesture-based devices however is that you never actually touch anything. No matter what you see on the screen, you're still very aware that you're just moving your hands through the air. The Pittsburg branch of Disney Research may be able to change that with Aireal, a low-cost haptic system which fires out small rings of air that allow people to feel virtual objects.